Stacey L. Schepens Niemiec, PhD, OTR/L, DipACLM

Profile photo of Stacey Niemiec

Stacey L. Schepens Niemiec, PhD, OTR/L, DipACLM is an associate professor of research at the University of Southern California Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

She earned a BS and MS in Occupational Therapy and PhD in Instructional Technology, all from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She has also completed a pre-doctoral fellowship in Aging and Urban Health at Wayne State University, a postdoctoral fellowship in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan, and a second postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Trials Methodology from the University of Southern California.

She is a licensed occupational therapist and a certified lifestyle medicine professional. Schepens Niemiec's research focuses broadly on the promotion of health and wellness in older individuals with and without disabilities and from urban and rural communities. Her work centers on the underlying mechanisms that facilitate or inhibit healthy aging, as well as methodologies—especially ones that incorporate everyday and cutting-edge technology—that emphasize activity participation. She relies on a multidisciplinary combination of occupational therapy, instructional technology, lifestyle medicine, and gerontological principles to guide her investigations, with an eye towards development of lifestyle-based interventions designed to counterbalance the chronic health problems that beset the older population.


Community-based participatory research to develop a lifestyle intervention for aging rural-dwelling Latino patients of primary care safety-net health systems


Rural-living late-midlife Latinos are at increased risk of multiple chronic health conditions such as diabetes and obesity, yet they represent an under-resourced and overlooked segment of the population. Considering projected trends in population aging and forecasted healthcare costs of chronic diseases, it is imperative to develop innovative strategies to reach, engage, and retain late-midlife Latinos in health-promoting behavior efforts.

¡Vivir Mi Vida! (VMV) is a culturally tailored, community-based healthy lifestyle intervention for late-midlife Latinos, designed to be integrated into safety-net primary care services in rural communities. Informed by social cognitive theory and the occupational therapy Lifestyle Redesign® approach, VMV is co-delivered by occupational therapists and promotores de salud (Latino community health workers), with emphasis on helping individuals understand the link between their ongoing daily activities and health and well-being. Through more than a decade of community-based participatory research, the VMV team—led by Dr. Schepens Niemiec of the University of Southern California Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and comprised of interdisciplinary researchers and community stakeholders—has worked together to build the VMV program.

This presentation will include an overview of the evidence-based VMV intervention and the journey the VMV team has taken in their efforts to bring this much needed program to the rural communities for which it was intended. 

Page last updated 4:06 PM, February 12, 2024